Noted New York playwright returns to SFA each year to direct students
February 7, 2013—Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS—He considers New York City his home. But for one semester each academic year, Jack Heifner, playwright in residence for Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Theater, finds himself back in Nacogdoches teaching play, screen and television writing at SFA.
He also finds himself directing aspiring actors, who he says “inspire me to be a better teacher.”
“I love writing and teaching, so coming back to SFA allows me to do both,” Heifner said.
This semester, he’s directing “Stage Door,” which opens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in W.M. Turner Auditorium and runs for five nights. It’s part of the SFA College of Fine Arts’ 2012-2013 University Series. The play is written by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman.
Heifer is probably best known for his play “Vanities,” which ran for five years in New York and became one of the longest running plays in off-Broadway history.
“When I’m not at SFA, I am working as a professional writer,” he said. “Sometimes, I am working on a new play or movie. In recent years, I was working on the musical version of my play ‘Vanities.’ We were doing productions of the musical in Palo Alto, Pasadena, New York and Seattle.” Samuel French will publish the show this year, and the music is available on CD.
Heifner was recently hired to write the book of a new Broadway show, and he’s always working on some project of his own. He is also the author of “Patio/Porch,” “Natural Disasters,” “Running on Empty,” “Home Fires,” “Heartbreak,” “Comfort and Joy,” “The Lemon Cookie,” “Earth to Bucky,” “China Dolls” and other plays and musicals produced in New York, Los Angeles and theatres around the world.
Heifner is the director of “The Festival of New American Plays” at SFA featuring works by major American playwrights. At SFA, he has directed “Home Fires,” “The Seagull,” “The Member of the Wedding” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”